This is a series of posts…
- “Nothing will be impossible for you” – Jesus Christ (October 2011)
- Whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you HAVE received it (October 2011)
- How does faith work? (Nov 2006)
- Not by might nor by power but by my Spirit (Zech 4:6)
- The Kingdom of God grows – its a process
- In The parable of the sower we have to persist until we bear fruit
- In The parable of the lamp on a stand we will get what we ASK for
You have heard this teaching by Jesus Christ…
Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?”
He said to them, “Because of your little faith.
Look again… why could they not cast it out? Because of their little faith. Their “little faith” was the problem.
For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.” – Mat 17:19-20
I often hear people teaching that a small faith like a mustard seed is all we need. Really? Is that what Jesus Christ taught us? He taught that the PROBLEM was that we have a little faith. It’s not desirable, it’s a problem!
NOTE: Do you know what a mustard seed and a mustard tree looks like, click to see.
In Albert Barnes Commentary he says this…
It has been supposed by some, therefore, that he meant to say, If you have the smallest or feeblest faith that is genuine, you can do all things…
It has been supposed by others… to mean, if you have increasing, expanding, enlarged faith, growing and strengthening from small beginnings, you can perform the most difficult undertaking… this is probably the true meaning.
Who plants the seed?
Now let’s take a look at a second parable that Jesus taught about mustard seeds.
He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows – Matt 13:31-32
Now here is the first thing I’d like you to take on board… who plants the seed? God or you? Jesus said: “a man took and planted in his field”. You see, God offers you the seed… for example when you read about Jesus Christ or while reading the bible or as your worship or listen to sermons etc.
But who plants it? You do!
Now we need to figure out – scripturally – how to make our faith grow big. It starts out small, but we need it to grow big 🙂
Do you meet the pre-conditions?
First, let’s take a look… have we met the pre-conditions to be able to ask for anything and receive it? Wait. What? There are pre-conditions?
When Jesus and Paul taught about being absolutely garuanteed to receive whatever we ask for they both said that these teachings are for people who are doing the will of God, those who please God.
Ok, so what is the will of God, or what pleases Him? Three scriptures come to mind…
- Someone asked Jesus Christ “what shall we do, to do the will of God?” and He answered: to believe in the One that He (God) sent“. THAT is the will of God, or as that verse says “the work of God that He desires”. Another verse says that whoever really believes in Jesus Christ WILL love one another as a result. We show our faith by our works. What God wants is faith… and true faith will result in changed behaviour… love for one another.
- Jesus Christ also said we should FIRST seek the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. If you confess and believe that you are IN Jesus Christ and He is IN you… then you are righteous in God’s eyes. Done and dusted. According to Rom 5:21 God’s grace and favor now reign over you, influencing all aspects of your life. But you have to believe, in order to receive. His influence will undoubtedly result in changes to your life as you become more like Him.
- Without faith it is impossible to please God. Or, conversely, WITH faith in what God says about Jesus Christ you ARE pleasing God.
If any of these 3 descriptions match you, then you meet the criteria to be able to ask and receive. 🙂
Let’s plant a seed!
So… are you ready? Based on Luke 8:4-15 which is the parable of the sower, let’s learn how to plant a seed and get it to grow into a big tree.
Wait… remind me… who plants it? God or…
v5 “A farmer went out to sow his seed…
v8 other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.”
Ok, so you plant it. And it has to fall onto good soil. We will need to find out what is a seed and what is good soil.
A few verses later Jesus Christ explains the meaning of the parable…
v11 “This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God.
So what we need to do is “plant” the word of God. What is the word of God? It’s two things. One thing is scripture. The other thing is Jesus Christ Himself, because HE IS the Word of God (see John 1:1).
I tend to plant both… scriptures about Jesus Christ AND scriptures that describe the promises Jesus Christ spoke over us all (His followers).
For example, Jesus Christ said we can ask for anything. I believe that. BY confessing that with my mouth and believing that in my heart, I’m planting that seed, it will grow.
How to get a seed to grow into a big tree
Now let’s refocus back onto what Jesus Christ taught about planting a seed of scripture and how it grows…
v12 the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved.
13 Those on the rocky ground are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away.
14 The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature.
Take note that Jesus Christ says: “They believe for a while”. The thing to note is that time passes.
Jesus also makes a very very important point… it takes time for the seed to “mature” (see v14).
Over time the seed – the scripture or the promise – is stolen. We forget. We lose courage. It’s taken away from us “as they go on their way”. Scriptural promises – like health and unbroken fellowship with God – can be killed of or taken away… sometimes life’s worries or riches or pleasure, or by testing.
You have bags and bags of seed!
Just think of the potential! EVERY promise God EVER made is YES in Jesus Christ. But unless we plant it and protect it as it grows, it never matures. Think… we may never actually GET it.
This is one of the things that drives me nutty about Christians. Why are we so content with so little? Is it because we are blissfully unaware of the promises about Him in the OT?
Why aren’t we more upset at the unnecessary state of the world? Why aren’t we upset that we don’t have their full inheritance? When we see a promise in the bible, why don’t we immediately plant it and tend it and help it grow into a massive tree?
Each and every one of us has a bag FULL of seeds. Why are we content with seeds? Shouldn’t we be growing them into a massive forest of trees?
Three things we must do
It’s terribly important to be aware that we do three things…
- Plant a scripturally-based promise… and there are SO MANY since every promise is YES in Jesus Christ
- Keep believing, every day, all day, despite life’s challenges and even testing
- Keep believing until that seed (the promise which is planted under ground and out of sight) matures into a big tree
Abram protected the promise too!
Do you know that the bible says we are to have the same faith that Abram did? He simply believed God’s words, and it was counted to Abram as righteousness. In that same way we simply believe God’s words about His Son, Jesus Christ and when we do that, we are counted righteousness.
Well… when God was making a covenant with Abram because of Abram’s faith in believing God… do you know what Abram did? Abram cut the sacrifices in half so that God could walk between them… this was the way they made covenants at that time. But what did Abram do? Look…
And when birds of prey came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away. – Gen 15:9-11
You see, Abram’s role was much like ours, to believe His words and then to protect what is about to happen. It had not happened yet, but Abram believed it would and he protected it. I’m not going to try and stress this point too much. It’s meaningful to me to see that Jesus says we must safe-guard the seed – God’s promises – and to see that Abram safe-guarded the covenant God was making with him.
Why grow a tree?
Earlier I emphasized the aspect of love. This is not just about collecting goodies for ourselves.
Do you remember in the movie “Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader” when they came to Deathwater Island where they could have anything they wanted? Some chose food, some got entrapped by gold.
If you really grasp that you can grow any seed into a tree, then please take this to heart… scripture says…
31He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. 32It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree,
so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.” – Matt 13:31-32
Do you see? We plant in our fields SO THAT we can bless others. We are not denying ourselves, but our goal is to love others.
Please share this post with someone who is searching, or someone who needs to see their life and their potential in a whole new light – as an overcoming victory through Jesus Christ. May God bless you – and I look forward to reading your comments and replying to them!